Saturday, March 27, 2021

CA6 Affirms Tax Obstruction Conviction (3/27/21)

In United States v. Avery (6th Cir. 3/26/21)(Unpublished), CA6 here and TN here, the Court affirmed Avery’s conviction for one count of tax obstruction, § 7212(a).  This is an unpublished opinion and, in the context, a fairly routine holding.  There are, however, two items I think worth mentioning

1.  A picky point.  The Court said (Slip Op. 6):  “The Department of Justice Tax  Division indicted DeSanto, Cespedes, and Avery in February 2018.”  The judges on the panel and their clerks and the other judges on the panel should know better than that.  Grand juries indict.  (I did LEXIS-NEXIS searches on “Department of Justice Tax  Division indicted” and “Tax  Division indicted” and got no hits.  (The Avery case is apparently not yet loaded on L-N.)

2. The Court makes a footnote comment (Slip Op. 6 n. 3):

n3 We find it puzzling that Avery did not challenge the substantive reasonableness of the restitution portion of her sentence. At oral argument, Avery's attorney pointed out that Avery's actions alone were not responsible for any of the IRS's losses, and neither caused the IRS a pecuniary loss nor met any other provision of 18 U.S.C. § 3663A(c) that would mandate restitution. Nor did the government argue that Avery was responsible for Integrated's falling behind on its taxes; rather, it made clear that its only claim against Avery was that she obstructed or impeded the IRS investigation. And the record does not suggest that Avery's obstructions prevented the IRS from pursuing the delinquent taxes; indeed, the IRS issued assessments for them and has begun collecting on those assessments.

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